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How To Make Compost

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HomeMade Compost Tumbler Plans

This homemade compost tumbler was a nice addition to the compost bins that I already had.  My compost bins were starting to rot and I had some left over culvert drain pipe that was just begging to be used in some nifty garden application so I made a compost tumbler. (I also constructed some new compost bins - for details on how to build these, click here.) The compost tumbler that I made is nothing more than a 4.5 ft section of drain pipe with  plywood ends (cut out with a scrolling saw) fastened on.  The corrugated design allows for good air flow yet the pipe is tough!  These compost tumblers could probably be dropped out of an airplane and save damage to the plywood ends would be fully usable!  This stuff is designed to last nearly forever in roadways.

The instructions for building these compost tumblers are given below:

  1. Obtain a 8 or 10 ft section of 24-inch (inner diameter) corrugated drain culvert pipe.  You may need to order a 20 foot section and split it with  friends and/or use the leftover pipe to make some indestructible planters. (My kids love to play in the leftover pipe!).  I special ordered my 20-ft pipe at Menards home store at a cost of about $260 (Enough for six 3-ft tumblers).  You will need to pick up the pipe with a pickup truck (or two).  If you get the 20 foot length, bring a hand saw along (as shown below) and cut the pipe to length.  Believe me, you will have a tough time handling the 20 foot section otherwise - they are stiffer and heavier than you would think!
     

  2. Cut the 8 or 10 ft section in (2) pieces of length from 3 feet to 5 feet or whatever size your choose. Make your tumbler of a size you can manage safely! My 4.5 ft tumbler is a bit hard on the back to lift on end but rolls without too much effort. A 3-ft tumbler will hold about 10-12 cubic ft.


     

  3. Cut out the plywood ends. Use treated or cedar plywood for more durability.  I would think plexi-glass might work well too. Fasten one end with 3-inch 1/4" bolts as shown below, and bungee cord the other end on as shown below.


     

  4. Drill holes for ventilation as needed.  This is easy to do with a cordless drill.

Your done!  Flip the compost bin end over end or roll it to mix contents.

Note: I use my compost tumbler in place of a compost pile for kitchen scraps.  I leave the bin turned upright with the top off. For instructions on how to build a compost heap that will decompose properly, click here.


At a price of about $110 for a set of 2 three foot tumblers, I think this home made composter is comparable to other composters costing three times as much.

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